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Stravinsky, Self-Denial, and Self-Renewal


  1. Let us all give thanks that he didn’t compose any massive operas in the Russian tradition. Well, Gergiev’s attempt to infuse Stravinsky with extra-musical baggage has its place, I suppose — none of us is immune from such attempts to frame us in time and place. But I find myself being very sympathetic to Stravinsky’s admonition that there is no program to be sought in his music. Surely he doesn’t claim that one can’t find one–only that one shouldn’t seek it. It’s almost as if he’s including that instruction in each of his scores. So I groan a little to hear mention of his war symphony. Sure one can cast it in that light, but it doesn’t seem to serve his music best.

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